Wacom One evaluation: An amazing, no-frills drawing pill for budding artists

As a result of Wacom’s latest system is for amateurs, it made sense for an novice to evaluation it. In spite of everything, no skilled designer at the moment utilizing a Cintiq goes to step all the way down to a funds system except it is actually compelling. Which is why I am making an attempt it out relatively than any of the skilled designers on workers, who might even see it in a really completely different gentle.

At first blush, it is clearly a Wacom pill, with a beneficiant (some might say chunky) bezel and comfortable, spherical edges. The design desires you to relaxation your forearms on, and over, it on the common, so it might’t be all be razor-sharp edges and jabby corners. It’s going to by no means draw coos in your fancy designer’s desk and Marcel Breuer chair, however it’s snug to hunch over.


The 13.Three-inch, 16:9, 1,920 x 1,080 AHVA show has a matte AG movie coating, which makes it really feel a bit like a really outdated Android pill. It is suitable with Wacom’s passive styluses — not your fingers. Nonetheless, it does work with third-party units that use the identical tech. That features digital pencils from Staedtler, Lamy and, amusingly sufficient, Samsung’s S-Pen.

The Wacom One’s coloration gamut — which is the colours it might show — is as much as 72 % NTSC / 99 % sRGB. That is high-quality for almost all of people that could also be doing on-line publishing and pictures work. When you’ve by no means heard the phrases, then fear not, as I am mentioning them purely for completeness’ sake. When you’re working with high-end print or solely ever take into consideration Adobe RGB, you are not going to purchase this system.


That is very a lot private choice, however the matte anti-glare movie and the comparatively weak backlight (200 nits) grated on me. Weak backlighting is one thing Wacom does, once more, as a result of it expects your head to be near the display, however I might have liked to spice up it on occasion. I am distinctive amongst my colleagues for liking to work in brightly lit rooms with my display brightness turned pretty excessive, although.

Wacom One

Wacom’s shifting away from shortcut buttons on its drawing units, and there are no right here. When you’re used to or need key bindings, you may want to purchase a separate $100 Categorical Key distant. As a digital native, I did not thoughts the dearth of keys, however did discover I needed to spend a lot of time utilizing keyboard shortcuts to get round.

The one main hardware function past the display are the legs, which flip out to repair the One at a 19-degree angle. That is the one adjustment you can also make, except, you recognize, you have obtained a type of deluxe drawing tables, or purchase considered one of Wacom’s fancy stands. You should utilize the One as a second show in your laptop, however with that mounted 19-degree angle, it is probably not made for it. As an alternative, I set it up as a mirrored show and arrange the One on a makeshift desk beside my standing desk.

Beneath one of many system’s legs, there is a small slot, which homes three substitute nibs in your stylus. In addition to the stylus, the Wacom One comes with a single four-way cable, with USB-C to hook up with the One, two USB-A (one for energy, one for information) and an HDMI-lead to the graphics card. You’ll be able to both energy the slate with a wall connector or with a second USB-A port in your laptop. Though, since USB-A is being phased out of most laptops, this might not be a long-term possibility.

Wacom is making an enormous deal that you need to use the One with a handful of Android telephones for content material creation on the go. That was how I first examined the One out at CES final month, nevertheless it’s not very elegant. Due to the sheer variety of cables you want, you may have to attach the One to the cellphone by way of a USB-C hub.

As soon as linked, although, setup is a doddle: You may get going after you have simply downloaded the motive force and registered the hardware. That’ll additionally provide you with entry to a few free trials, together with three months for Clip Studio Paint and two months free Adobe Premiere Rush. When you’re a Home windows person, you additionally get Bamboo Paper and pro-pack options totally free.

It took me lower than ten minutes earlier than I used to be working Photoshop and sketching like I labored in a artistic company named after a citrus fruit. There’s that feeling you get once you’re sketching with a tool like this that simply encourages you to really feel liberated. For me, working with paper at all times feels such as you’re placing stress on your self to do a superb job. All it takes is one over-hard scrape with a pencil and no quantity of erasing will eliminate it.

However with a tool like this, I can simply open up a brand new file in Photoshop and begin sketching, with the liberty to screw round as I care. I preserve that means to attempt to comply with together with a Bob Ross video on YouTube, however I used to be by some means too intimidated to take action earlier than writing the evaluation. Largely since you watch these skilled artist clips and assume that if I do it too early, I might be too traumatized from the failure.

Wacom

That is what makes the One so empowering; as a result of its fundamentals are so sturdy, you do not should be aware of latency and stress sensitivity. It simply works, fairly naturally, to the purpose the place you are not listening to the nib monitoring, as an example, usually use.

If I am ever coloring with pencils, I prefer to tilt the tip to a near-horizontal angle for ease of overlaying the paper. There’s one thing very enjoyable about letting the pencil shade, working your fingers backwards and forwards as you go. Sadly, the matte movie on the Wacom One provides sufficient friction to imply that you may’t get paper-like glide when coloring, one thing I discovered annoying.

And whereas I am nitpicking, I used to be irritated on the lack of fine-grain management that I wished to mess with. I might have liked to vary the brightness, tweak the colours and set the display as much as be extra snug to my eyes. I do not like having no management over how greatest to make the system work in my very own area, even when I ought to be capable to belief Wacom’s calibration.

Basically, the compromises that Wacom made make loads of sense, each to maintain the price down and to not cannibalize gross sales of pricier units. You get a display, a pen and sufficient tech that you can get the job achieved, and achieved properly.

A Skilled’s View

Wacom One

Sketch Credit score: Ben Allen

Ben Allen is a cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer who has been utilizing Wacom merchandise for the final 11 years. He mentioned that his greatest frustration with the One was its lack of Categorical Keys for shortcuts, forcing him to maintain one hand on the keyboard whereas drawing. The most important situation? The lack to zoom out and in of the picture with out breaking his artistic stride.

Coming from Wacom’s skilled units, he mentioned there have been loads of irritating omissions, just like the lacking eraser software on the again of the stylus. It is a nitpick, however he mentioned flipping his pen over was a way more pure technique of correcting a mistake. Equally, an absence of contact on the show meant he needed to change to the transfer software to push the canvas round.

Allen did like the dimensions of the show, which he mentioned was “greater than sufficient” for many artists, and that he immediately “most popular it to an iPad.” He mentioned that the latency and small distance between the glass and display beneath was one other plus, and that utilizing the One wasn’t like “drawing on a window.”

Allen additionally appreciated the the flexibility to run the One from a laptop computer, if it is geared up with two full-size USB-A and one HDMI port. “The portability is an enormous plus,” he mentioned, despite the fact that he’d assume twice about utilizing it for skilled work — the dearth of shortcut keys would price him an excessive amount of time.

Pricing and the Competitors

For $399, Wacom is promoting this as a tool you would drop cash on with out having to consider it. When you’re available in the market for a graphics slate and have $400 to spare, then you definitely’re primarily in no-brainer territory. It ought to final for years as a result of Wacom units have a popularity for longevity, and it is a lot cheaper than the subsequent unit up, the $700 Cintiq 16.

The obvious competitor for the Wacom One is the iPad, a conveyable 10.2-inch iOS pill that retails for $329.99. You may want to purchase the Apple Pencil for an extra $99, however you may and will save on that determine with semi-regular gross sales on third-party web sites.

There are apparent upsides to the iPad, together with the truth that it is low-cost and you need to use it as a standalone system. However artists have complained that the hole between the show strata and the glass makes drawing really feel much less pure than on different units. That hasn’t stopped main artists, like David Hockney, from utilizing the iPad to attract covers worthy of fronting The New Yorker.

I might by no means heard of XP-Pen earlier than reviewing the Wacom One, nevertheless it additionally makes competitively priced options to the Japanese firm’s choices. For $399.99, you may seize a 15.6-inch Artist Professional Show that really comes out forward of Wacom on specs alone. If uncooked numbers are your factor, it has an 88 % NTSC coloration gamut (120 % sRGB), eight totally programmable shortcut keys and a jog dial, fixing a few of my points with Wacom’s One.

Wrap-Up

Wacom One

Worth generally is a sledgehammer that negates each different dialogue a couple of product as a result of it is simply so low-cost (or, in some instances, costly). For each argument you would make towards the Wacom One, its value can beat just about all of them.

I may discuss how messy it’s to hook up with a pc in an more and more USB-C world, particularly with a necessity for full-size HDMI. And the way the dearth of contact and shortcut keys, whereas logical, does restrict the performance a tool like this will provide in comparison with its rivals.

However none of these arguments can actually defeat the truth that utilizing this factor is enjoyable, and it is an ideal entry-level product. When you’re upgrading from an Intuos, studying to get into digital artwork otherwise you’re simply curious, then why purchase something pricier?